I recently read this collection of short travelling stories compiled by Don George for Lonely Planet, and it was truly inspirational for me to take chances and plunge into the unknown of the world! Some of the funniest experiences can come from when you are running loose in a foreign country and the anthology includes tales from unusual destinations and circumstances.

lonely planet

During my travels, I found that some risks and chances I took could have ended bizarrely or badly but the majority paid-off to give me some amazing experiences. The old Rasta on a scooter offering to drive me around a village in Northern Thailand to find a cheap hut for me to stay in could have led to my permanent disappearance, but instead it enabled me to explore a new place with a genuinely friendly local and find out the best places for live music. Learning Bahasa Indonesian from locals on Gili Trawangan led to gifts of paintings, interesting rice wine and “tickets to the moon”. Blindly putting my trust in local Indonesian ‘tourist agents’ that a piece of paper will get me from A to B, despite a slight detour to X, Y and Z for inexplicable reasons. Accepting the invitation of an Australian stranger to join him on an island in the New Year led to a whirlwind romance around the world, with a different country or city every month of my travels.


On an unexpected longtail boat to Gili Islands… at sunset… a good 5 hours later than planned.

Striking out can be extremely daunting, but I found I took more chances when travelling alone than with a partner. They may have seemed more like risks as the decisions were entirely my own… however we did jump out of a plane at 15,000feet in New Zealand- if that’s not taking a chance then god knows what is!!

Travel literature is a great encouragement and inspiration. I read a lot of them while away (strangely many about India, which has consequently become one of my next top destinations), and here are a few of my favourites:

  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
  • Holy Cow – Sarah MacDonald
  • Take Me With You – Brad Newsham
  • A Fortune-Teller Told Me – Tiziano Terzani
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (An inspirational read of the concept that ‘everything happens for a reason’)

“Adventures ultimately teach us not just about the people and places of the world that we didn’t know existed – but about the unknown, unexplored corners of ourselves… if you’re faced with a sticky situation or a daunting divide, listen to that small, still voice deep inside you. It will tell you what to do, which way to go” – Don George

“And as for the moral of this story: not all misadventures remain misadventures. Travel plans gone awry can take you places, connect you with people and cast you into situations that may just change your life” – Amanda Jones

Go forth and make mistakes in the world! The dire hopeless situations can make the best stories… Happy travelling.


Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane